What a thrill to share with you my review of Take Height, Rutterkin by Millie Thom, historical fiction published in August 2021.
Take Height, Rutterkin by Millie Thom, book review
Based on a true story, the novel depicts the lives of a family of three women, Joan Flower and her two daughters, Phillip and Margaret, whose lives face a sheer drop from the peaceful and idyllic 1611 into the horrors of 1619’s witch hunts.
When life robs the three Flower women of their only source of income, they make ends meet and, for a brief time, life appears to be bearable again. Yet words and actions have consequences, and soon the three Flower women learn that there is a way of life awaiting for them even below sheer poverty.
The everyday joys and struggle of the villagers of Bottesford, Leicestershire, are intertwined and influenced to the point of no return by the rich living at Belvoir Castle. This is going to be experienced first hand by the three women. What else could life possibly throw at them now? A witch trial, and one during which Millie Thom plays her characters like an expert psychological puppeteer.
On reading Take Height, Rutterkin, one is skillfully reminded of the women’s lack of status in society during the Jacobean era, and of the conflict between the Church and the everyday prejudices of the masses.
But with all the sorrow and the challenges the Flower women were faced with, what comes through in this book is their will to stay alive, as it is human nature to survive at all costs. And what a twist Millie Thom has for her readers at the very end!
As for Rutterkin, know that he is a white Tom cat…
Themes present in Take Height, Rutterkin by Millie Thom
Good vs evil, prejudice, individual vs society, witchcraft, magic, women’s rights, second chances.
What I enjoyed the most about Take Height, Rutterkin by Millie Thom
Just like in her Sons of Kings book series, which I read and enjoyed, in Take Height, Rutterkin Milli Thom surprises the reader with a clever plot twist after another. And the sudden changes in the story-line make perfect sense, while still being unexpected. For this, I read Take Height, Rutterkin way past my bedtime for two nights in a row.
I enjoyed how the story came full circle in the end, and the glimmer of hope in humankind that the author gave us in its closing chapter.
Another aspect I enjoyed was the extra chapter providing additional info on the witch hunt that blasted throughout Europe during the 15-18th centuries, the biography used by the writer for this book, as well as the author’s personal view on Bottesford village, where she lived.
Take Height, Rutterkin by Milli Thom is a historical fiction novel that will stay with you after you read it through the sheer will of her main characters, especially Phillipa Flower, but also through its uplifting and whimsical ending.
Take Height, Rutterkin is available through Amazon.